T Nation

What is America's War on Drugs Costing?

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
85%?[/quote]

I think your cultural heritage skews your view on alcohol consumption.

Roughly 50% drink at all and that is in non Muslim countries.

Daily?

Far, far less-

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
85%?[/quote]

I think your cultural heritage skews your view on alcohol consumption.

Roughly 50% drink at all and that is in non Muslim countries.

Daily?

Far, far less-[/quote]

I was talking about Americans at the time prohibition was enacted. Now 80% is my last offer.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
85%?[/quote]

I think your cultural heritage skews your view on alcohol consumption.

Roughly 50% drink at all and that is in non Muslim countries.

Daily?

Far, far less-[/quote]

I was talking about Americans at the time prohibition was enacted. Now 80% is my last offer.[/quote]

I will go with 80% of all people that really mattered.

Hard to find numbers, but I found this little gem on Wikipedia:

"There was consumption of alcohol both during and after prohibition.

The 18th Amendment prohibited the production, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States and was widely supported by the American public when it went into effect in 1920.

The temperance movement had popularized the belief that alcohol was the major cause of most personal and social problems and prohibition was seen as the solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills.[1] Upon ratification of the amendment, the famous evangelist Billy Sunday said that “The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs.” (Compare Christianity and alcohol.) Since alcohol was to be banned and since it was seen as the cause of most, if not all, crime, some communities sold their jails.[2]

The nation was highly optimistic and the leading prohibitionist in the United States Congress confidently asserted that “There is as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.”

They sold their jails.

Slums would disappear.

Oh my.

I agree with SM to a degree. But I think more people have smoked pot than will admit. I do believe it will be legal some day but 30 years ago I would have thought it would be today

[quote]Makavali wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
No, it isn’t supporting the illicit drug trade. The drug trade my exist as a result of the nation’s ban on certain drugs, but it isn’t as if we are supporting it. Would the illegal drug cartels go away if all drugs were legal? Probably not; Mexican drug dealers would just charge less money for their products, or they’d literally kill their competitors to stay in business. That’s what I would do if I were a drug dealer.[/quote]

If drugs were legal to sell, wouldn’t you buy local at a cheaper price than buy shit from Mexico?

You legalize pot, LSD, and other non/barely addictive substances, then yes, a small handful will look to buy harder stuff from illegal sources - but the rest who may well only try harder stuff because a drug dealer is peddling that crap won’t do so.

To make it simple for others, two scenarios:

  1. Teenager goes to corner store and buys pot.
  2. Teenager goes to drug dealer and buys pot. Teenager is also offered meth.

Not hard to choose which is more desirable. Also takes the power away from international cartels.[/quote]

You’re making a few assumptions.

  1. That locally grown pot will be cheaper.
  2. That someone trying to turn a profit (such as the Government … ciggarette tax, anyone?) wouldn’t make pot more expensive in a corner store.

If I were a Mexican drug dealer and I knew my competition was locally growing pot and legally selling it for less, I’d match or beat their price. I’d have to if I wanted to stay in business.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
No, it isn’t supporting the illicit drug trade. The drug trade my exist as a result of the nation’s ban on certain drugs, but it isn’t as if we are supporting it. Would the illegal drug cartels go away if all drugs were legal? Probably not; Mexican drug dealers would just charge less money for their products, or they’d literally kill their competitors to stay in business. That’s what I would do if I were a drug dealer.[/quote]

If drugs were legal to sell, wouldn’t you buy local at a cheaper price than buy shit from Mexico?

You legalize pot, LSD, and other non/barely addictive substances, then yes, a small handful will look to buy harder stuff from illegal sources - but the rest who may well only try harder stuff because a drug dealer is peddling that crap won’t do so.

To make it simple for others, two scenarios:

  1. Teenager goes to corner store and buys pot.
  2. Teenager goes to drug dealer and buys pot. Teenager is also offered meth.

Not hard to choose which is more desirable. Also takes the power away from international cartels.[/quote]

You’re making a few assumptions.

  1. That locally grown pot will be cheaper.
  2. That someone trying to turn a profit (such as the Government … ciggarette tax, anyone?) wouldn’t make pot more expensive in a corner store.

If I were a Mexican drug dealer and I knew my competition was locally growing pot and legally selling it for less, I’d match or beat their price. I’d have to if I wanted to stay in business.[/quote]

Assumption 1 is from growing up next to pot dealers. It’s not that expensive to make.

Assumption 2 is from the first “assumption”. The profit margins on pot (and most illegal drugs) are astronomical. You could tax it the same rates as cigarettes and still have it cheaper if using normal profit margins. But it’s illegal, you charge what you want since there is no legitimate competition.

If I were a Mexican drug dealer, I’d take the legit route for pot and move more product by supplying as a wholesaler.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
Severiano, valid points. However thinking that addiction/usage rates won’t increase is a fantasy. Drinking and smoking are both legal at 21 and 18 respectively. High school kids love to do both, especially drinking. It’s cool! So why wouldn’t cocaine or heroine be cool? After all I can pick it up from the gas station.

Your whole argument is based on the rate of addiction not increasing. I don’t buy it for a minute. It would be like saying in 1900 “Well, there aren’t a lot of fat people, so if we open up fast food everywhere, the rate of obsesity won’t increase much.”

If it’s there, people will use it. If we placate pitbull and legalize MJ, what’s next? What about all the other poor addicts out there?

@pitbull: I am in fact the recipient of all my bad decisions. Aren’t we all? I’m a true libertarian and I believe that personal responsibility and ownership are critical. Those were the old republican values until we started caring about stupid shit like abortion and gay marriage.

But that’s off topic. If you use drugs, you suffer the consequences. Today, it’s incarceration. If I ruled, it would be legal and people would die from ODs all over the place … and the country would be that much better, weeding out the weak with no effort.[/quote]

I know, I have a hard time believing the rate of addiction wouldn’t jump, but the thing is we can only look to other countries to see if it does/ did.

The other thing we can look at are the things we have done in the past to curb the drug problem, and like I said the statistics state that there is no significant increase or decrease with things like D.A.R.E. or drug testing, or strict prison sentences. The only constant is that it costs us a shit ton of money to enforce the drug laws and imprison people. You might be surprised at how many are in prison only for Marijuana, which is mostly harmless and in some cases helpful for people. For a lot of people who suffer from things like PTSD, it takes the edge off. I still have an edge on me that comes out because I tend to reciprocate how others treat me when I’m off work. When I’m at work and I deal with someone rude or disrespectful, I can feel my blood pressure rise, I get all pumped like I’m going to lift something heavy, that’s just how I respond.

I’m more in favor of starting with pot. Once we legalize it, people are going to want to grow their own, but once it starts getting really cheap to purchase quality product, it’s going to be all about cost to quality, as well as what sort of strains people prefer much like beer variety.

Drug dealers aren’t going to want anything to do with pushing this. Really, I’d rather be around a bunch of really stoned people than a bunch of really drunk people. Also here in Cali you can get a prescription for pot. Let me say, the prices on the streets tend to try to stay competitive with the prices at the collectives and shops, actually they tend to try to be cheaper. The closer it gets to becoming legal, the less profit margin there will be, and the risk vs. reward aspect will eventually make it not worth while.

There are a lot of things that need to be hammered out, I imagine someday pot will be a lot like alcohol. You might need some sort of pot license to sell it, much like a liquor license. There will be taxes on it, I’m sure big corps will move in and try to supply very cheap garbage ala budweiser, and then there will be smaller specialized places that focus on more of a quality product, like Lagunitas or Stone.

[quote]Makavali wrote:

Assumption 2 is from the first “assumption”. The profit margins on pot (and most illegal drugs) are astronomical. You could tax it the same rates as cigarettes and still have it cheaper if using normal profit margins. But it’s illegal, you charge what you want since there is no legitimate competition.
[/quote]

That is not true.

Cocaine for example is purer and cheaper than it was 30 years ago., indicating that the free market is alive and well.

@Mak:

I didn’t say it was expensive to produce. Ciggarettes aren’t expensive to produce yet cost $10 a pack nowadays. Once it gets regulated as a drug, the government will tax the shit out of the legal stuff. Drug dealers can sell it cheaper illegally. When a cop asks me where I got my MJ from, I’ll lie and tell him I got it from the store. Your argument doesn’t hold, man.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
@Mak:

I didn’t say it was expensive to produce. Ciggarettes aren’t expensive to produce yet cost $10 a pack nowadays. Once it gets regulated as a drug, the government will tax the shit out of the legal stuff. Drug dealers can sell it cheaper illegally. When a cop asks me where I got my MJ from, I’ll lie and tell him I got it from the store. Your argument doesn’t hold, man.[/quote]

And why are cigarettes taxed, pray tell?

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:

Assumption 2 is from the first “assumption”. The profit margins on pot (and most illegal drugs) are astronomical. You could tax it the same rates as cigarettes and still have it cheaper if using normal profit margins. But it’s illegal, you charge what you want since there is no legitimate competition.
[/quote]

That is not true.

Cocaine for example is purer and cheaper than it was 30 years ago., indicating that the free market is alive and well. [/quote]

Perhaps in Austria but nowhere else but at the source is coke purer [but perhaps cheaper] than 30 years ago. It’s cut already before it’s shipped abroad with levamisole and then it’s cut until one gram of streetcoke contains 5% actual coke.

The rest is filler.

Certain internet blackmarkets however offer far superior cocaine off the brick, and you pay through the nose for it. For the record; I loath cocaine.

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:

Assumption 2 is from the first “assumption”. The profit margins on pot (and most illegal drugs) are astronomical. You could tax it the same rates as cigarettes and still have it cheaper if using normal profit margins. But it’s illegal, you charge what you want since there is no legitimate competition.
[/quote]

That is not true.

Cocaine for example is purer and cheaper than it was 30 years ago., indicating that the free market is alive and well. [/quote]

Perhaps in Austria but nowhere else but at the source is coke purer [but perhaps cheaper] than 30 years ago. It’s cut already before it’s shipped abroad with levamisole and then it’s cut until one gram of streetcoke contains 5% actual coke.

The rest is filler.

Certain internet blackmarkets however offer far superior cocaine off the brick, and you pay through the nose for it. For the record; I loath cocaine.
[/quote]

Lies.

My data is for NY.

The cocaine her is utter crap, but me no worry, cause that is not my kind of drug.

They are thinking about the wrong numbers. If there is one number that embodies the seemingly intractable challenge imposed by the illegal drug trade on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, it is $177.26. That is the retail price, according to Drug Enforcement Administration data, of one gram of pure cocaine from your typical local pusher. That is 74 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago.

If the DEA claims that a street level pusher sells pure cocaine, they’re full of shit.

[quote]ephrem wrote:
If the DEA claims that a street level pusher sells pure cocaine, they’re full of shit.[/quote]

Where did they claim that?

Also, if you cannot get decent blow this close to Rotterdam and Shipol, your dealer stinks at his job.

When the junkies are left to pick up their own tab (health/unemployment) in life, we’ll talk. End the War on Poverty first. Or am I to believe that particular “War on…” is a great investment, and winnable.

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]ephrem wrote:
If the DEA claims that a street level pusher sells pure cocaine, they’re full of shit.[/quote]

Where did they claim that?[/quote]

How else should I construe this?

[quote]orion wrote:
Also, if you cannot get decent blow this close to Rotterdam and Shipol, your dealer stinks at his job.[/quote]

You don’t get it, do you? Cocaine is cut at the source with levamisole. Midlevel dealers cut it further and you need good connections with bad people to get ‘the good stuff’ that early.

Anyway, legalise, legalise and legalise, regulate and educate ALL THE THINGS!

[quote]ephrem wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]ephrem wrote:
If the DEA claims that a street level pusher sells pure cocaine, they’re full of shit.[/quote]

Where did they claim that?[/quote]

How else should I construe this?[/quote]

That if they get their hands on cocaine they determine how pure it is and what the real deal would cost.